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Gov. Youngkin fires back at school district defying policy on gender identity: 'Parents are in charge'
August 22 2023, 08:00

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., responded to a school district announcing it wouldn't use the new model policies set by Virginia’s Education Department (VDOE), saying it is the law and the district "doesn’t have a choice" in the matter. 

Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) released a statement last week stating that it would stick with an older policy that addresses the "rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming students" because it is "consistent with both federal and state anti-discrimination laws."

The VDOE’s 2021 model policies for school districts allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and school facilities that matched their gender identity as well as required teachers to use students’ preferred gender pronouns, according to the Washington Post. 

The updated 2023 model policies would require students to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities that match their sex assigned at birth. It would also prohibit teachers from referring to a student by a different name or pronoun unless the student’s parents have been notified and the parents request the change in writing. 


"The law is very clear that I issue model policies and local school districts have to adopt policies consistent with the model policies. And I would add to the fact that this is common sense," Youngkin said Monday on "The Story." 

"We are very straightforwardly saying that first, parents are in charge of their children's lives. The kids don't belong to the state. They belong to parents and to families, and they have the ultimate say in decisions that that child is going to make with a parent, not with a bureaucrat." 

He added that parents should have the ultimate authority on a range of school issues like whether their child should wear a mask to school and whether sexually explicit material should be removed from curriculum. 

Youngkin told anchor Martha MacCallum that it’s not just Republican parents who are pushing for rights in education. 


"These are parents who are frustrated with the fact that the dignity and the safety and the privacy of all children and families is not being ensured by the old policies that pushed parents out of their children's lives," he explained. "And this is exactly what we saw in Loudoun County, where, in fact, it it became a true groundswell. I mean, ground zero of the parent’s movement. And now we're seeing it in Fairfax County and others. This is a parent moment, not a political moment. And they will, in fact, comply with the law and stop thinking that they know more than parents."

PWCS said it is "committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment and serving as trusted partners in education with our students, families, and community." 

"Parents and guardians are critical in their child’s education and PWCS has a history of working directly with families of students who are transgender, and those who are gender nonconforming, to ensure a safe and positive academic experience that meets individual student needs. Sensitive situations are addressed on a case-by-case basis in the best interest of the child, while prioritizing safety," the statement continued. 

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